Overlanding, the practice of exploring the great outdoors with a vehicle that can handle the rough terrain, is an activity that requires ample preparation. Many people overland as a way to make fun memories with friends and family. Others are loyal hobbyists who find joy in the rough travel. Other may even use their trucks and skills for rescue/emergency situations. Whatever the reason may be, these travelers will rely on their trusted tools and appliances to get the job done. Items commonly used on these trips include portable fridges, cookers, battery chargers, key electronics, and more.
One of the key considerations to preparing for a future trip is to ensure you have access to reliable power for your devices and appliances while on the road. A portable power station and solar panel combo can be an excellent solution for this. In this article, we are going to take a look as to how a portable power station and portable solar panel can be helpful for your future overlanding adventure.
What is a Genset?
A portable power station is essentially a battery that can store and supply electricity to various devices. They typically come with built-in outlets and USB ports for easy connectivity. A solar panel, on the other hand, is a device that can convert sunlight into electricity. When used together, you make “the Genset”: a portable power station and solar panel can provide you with a self-sustaining power source while on the go.
Gensets is a dynamic duo of portable power through sustainable means. When you are on a longer trip, you can easily charge your genset with solar energy, your car battery, or an AC outlet. When on the road, AC outlets are not easy to find since you will be traveling away from the grid. While using your car battery is a reliable and direct method of recharging your power station, using solar energy is the best way to go. Solar energy is easy to come by and won’t slowly drain your car battery over time. Plus, it’s easy to set up and offers a clean form of energy consumption.
How to Put Together a Genset?
The first step in using this setup for overlanding is to choose the right size power station and solar panel. This will depend on your power needs and how much sun exposure you can expect. If you plan to run a fridge, charge a laptop, and use some lights, you will need a larger capacity power station, typically with a capacity of 500Wh-100Wh. The solar panel should be capable of charging the power station in a reasonable amount of time, typically around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.
Once you have the right equipment, it's time to set it up. The solar panel should be placed in an area with maximum sun exposure, such as on the roof of your vehicle or on a stand. It should be angled to face the sun and connected to the power station using the provided cables. Most portable power stations come with a charge controller, which regulates the power flow from the solar panel to the battery, preventing overcharging or damage to the battery.
With the solar panel connected, you can begin using the power station to charge your devices. Simply plug them into the outlets or USB ports on the power station, and you're good to go. Some power stations even have DC ports that can be used to power 12V appliances, such as a portable fridge.
The Benefits of Using a Genset
One of the benefits of using a portable power station and solar panel combo is that it can provide a virtually unlimited power source as long as you have access to sunlight. This means you can stay off the grid for longer periods and explore remote areas without worrying about running out of power. It's also an environmentally friendly solution, as you're using renewable energy instead of relying on generators or other fossil fuel-powered sources.
When using this setup, it's important to be mindful of your power usage and plan accordingly. While a larger capacity power station can provide ample power for several days, it's still limited, and using high-power devices for extended periods can drain the battery quickly. To conserve power, you can use energy-efficient devices, such as LED lights, and turn off devices when not in use.
In conclusion, a portable power station and solar panel combo can be an excellent solution for providing reliable power while overlanding. By choosing the right size equipment, setting it up properly, and being mindful of your power usage, you can enjoy a self-sustaining power source while exploring the great outdoors. Whether you're camping, hiking, or traveling off the beaten path, this setup can provide you with the power you need to stay connected and comfortable.